Birth of ‘Forensic Physician’ to Allay Suspicious Deaths

Birth of ‘Forensic Physician’  to Allay Suspicious Deaths Birth of ‘Forensic Physician’  to Allay Suspicious Deaths

As a rule only general physicians are allowed to issue death certificates and they are responsible for diagnosing and certifying the cause of death. And no institution has the authority to evaluate whether the physician’s ‘cause-of-death’ diagnoses were accurate or not.

To check this problem the Iranian Legal Medicine Organization (ILMO) as the trustee for diagnosis and certification of the different types of deaths in the country, has formulated a plan to confirm the accuracy of ‘natural’ deaths by physicians.

Although the plan was supposed to be implemented in 2012, but due to several reasons it was postponed by a couple of years, said Dr. Ahmad Shojaee, ILMO head.

Every day, many people call emergency services claiming that their loved ones have passed away due to old age, illness or other ‘natural’ causes.

But if we contemplate the deaths without the involvement of emotions, some questions would arise: whether people who lost their lives in the home or hospital have really died of natural causes or not? Is it possible that the physician who has certified a natural death hasn’t seen the fine details of death? Or is it possible that sometimes deaths by poisoning seem like natural deaths?

Figures indicate that approximately 100,000 dead are buried annually without a medical license in the country. Perhaps many of them haven’t died of natural causes; and also perhaps even hundreds of other deaths with medical certifications, haven’t occurred due to natural death causes, Mehr News Agency reported.


To allay all these fears, the ‘Forensic Physician’ plan which aims at scientific and accurate identification of the cause of deaths has now been launched with the involvement of more than 200 physicians in most of the provinces including Eastern-Azarbaijan, Ardebil, Alborz, Kerman, Tehran, Semnan, Fars, Kordestan, Kermanshah, Mazandaran, Gilan, Hamedan, Qom and Kohgiluyeh and Boyer Ahmad. The plan will also be implemented in Western Azarbaijan, Isfahan, Ilam, Bushehr, Qazvin and Golestan.

Shojaee expressed hope that the plan would cover the entire country by the end of this calendar year (March 20, 2015).

“When people lose their lives at home, the emergency services should first ensure that they have passed away.  Then they should call the justice physicians if they suspect the deaths aren’t natural,” said Ali Bakhshi, executive director of the plan. Also people can call the physicians directly and ask them to evaluate the accurate cause of the death.